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Enjoying the food in Luxembourg - plus a brilliant burrata and tomato sorbet recipe





Celebrity chef Steven Saunders takes a trip to Luxembourg, eats Michelin star food and shares a fabulous summer vegetarian recipe, burrata, with an intense tomato sorbet.

Luxembourg
Luxembourg

Having worked with Formula 1 for 9 years, I am fortunate to have been to many countries and lots in Europe, but I had never been to Luxembourg.

My daughter Serena said that she was flying into Luxembourg with her husband Clint, from Australia (where she lives), and I booked a flight immediately. I miss her so much and I was curious about Luxembourg. I could possibly even open a restaurant there!

The Geranium brand is very well known in Europe, not least because Geranium Copenhagen was voted the world’s best restaurant only a few weeks ago. The Copenhagen phenomenon is not my masterpiece but it carries our name which I had originally consented, so not a bad connection.

My Little Geranium in Mijas Spain had won Best International Restaurant in 2020 and then was closed down because of Covid and so we weren’t able to reap the rewards of all the hard work. It seemed such a shame and a great loss.

Luxembourg is a tax haven, a city with only about 650,000 residents. It is one of the least populated European cities, landlocked between France, Belgium and Germany it takes the best of the three strong surrounding countries which makes it into something very special. I was particularly impressed with the all new electric Mercedes buses and trams in the city - totally free for everyone, solving parking issues, congestion and pollution emissions.

I met Serena at a little brasserie in the centre called Brasserie La Lorraine that I had noticed as I walked around waiting for her. It sits facing the square a few streets down from Rue Notre Dame, which is the main street near the cathedral.

Confused by where we were I started speaking in Spanish, ordering food and wine. Serena immediately pointed out that they were French speaking (they have their own language, Luxembourgish) and although I speak a bit of French, Spanish is my second language and so it makes it difficult to remember everything in French when the first thought is Spanish.

We enjoyed a plate of homard or, in Spanish, bogavante but either way it was lobster, with a bottle of Provence rose wine and caught up.

Steven Saunders. Picture: Keith Heppell
Steven Saunders. Picture: Keith Heppell

That evening we eat in a restaurant called Clairefontaine that had just lost its Michelin star after 20 years. I know how devasting that can be and so we wanted to support them.

The food was fantastic but even better was the service. We were put in a private room and treated like royalty. The head waiter said that he knew of my work as a chef and they were out to impress, which they did rather sensationally.

On the second day the restaurant we chose was Ma Langue de Sourit, meaning ‘my tongue smiles’. It’s a leading two Michelin-starred restaurant in Luxembourg and very well respected.

We had the gastronomic menu degustation - nine courses. We started with stunning canapes: courgette flowers filled with a fish mousse, souvide langoustine with caviar, crab with truffle foam, wagyu-style beef with redcurrants and a delicate tart of white chocolate with raspberry sorbet was sublime. The petit fours were a work of art. The food was amazing but the service was a little too mechanical for my liking, lacking any personal touch.

Then on the last day, Serena had booked a little place just outside town called Villa Camille et Julien. It was like the wild card. In true Serena style, she arrived nearly two hours late but she always looks fantastic and everyone forgives her!

The menu started with home-made sourdough bread and a burrata with tomato confit, Parmesan crust and a really intense tomato sorbet with dried tomato skin. Burrata is a fresh cow's milk cheese made from the stretched curd of the mozzarella, with a creamy filling.

It was a simple dish but probably the highlight because it was so fresh so light and refreshing. The chef Julien came out and talked food with us and we were in foodie heaven - a truly beautiful restaurant and definitely worth going to if you’re heading for Luxembourg.

The weather in Luxembourg was really hot: 30-plus degrees. So anything that was served chilled or refreshing was a delight. Other courses, like souvide monkfish with purple heritage carrot, and veal sweetbreads featured, along with wines from France and Luxembourg.

So this week to embrace the continuous sunshine I want to share the burrata recipe with you. It’s is an ideal choice for a light lunch or a starter. Perfect for these hot, smouldering evenings, it’s a great vegetarian option, packed full of flavours. The sorbet is amazing. Do try it!

Contact

www.theodessaproject.com (my project helping Ukrainians)

Email: thechefsaunders@gmail.com

Instagram: theodessaproject

Instagram: @saunderschef

Steven’s Burrata with intense tomato sorbet

Burrata a la Steven Saunders
Burrata a la Steven Saunders

Ingredients for the burrata

  • 2 burrata each weighing approximately 250g
  • 40g of caviar (optional)
  • olive oil
  • half a lemon squeezed for juice
  • Maldon salt
  • white pepper

Method for the burrata

Cut each burrata into half into a bowl and season well. Add the lemon juice and the olive oil. Divide this mix between four using a small metal ring (see photo) approx 4cm diameter. Press the cheese down onto each plate in the ring.

If using the Parmesan crisp, follow a recipe for Parmesan crisp - it is simply grated Parmesan on a baking tray, cooked until golden in a medium oven.

Top the burrata rings with the Parmesan crisp.

Steven Saunders’ tomato sorbet
Steven Saunders’ tomato sorbet

Ingredients for the tomato sorbet

  • 100ml water
  • 85g sugar
  • 1.5kg ripe and heritage tomatoes
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 1 small white onion chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 piece of orange zest
  • a little tabasco sauce

Method for the sorbet

To make the syrup, boil the water with the sugar in a small saucepan until you have a clear syrup.

Wash and halve the tomatoes and de seed using a teaspoon and chop finely.

In a frying pan sweat the onion and orange skin in the olive oil. Now add 75 per cent of the tomatoes and all the basil

Cover and simmer for eight minutes.

When the mixture looks dryish and pulpy, remove from heat and cool.

When cool, puree the mix and add the remaining raw tomatoes and add the salt and the tobacco and continue to puree. Taste and check flavours.

Now press this mix through a fine sieve straight into an ice cream machine (Sorbetiere) or pour into a plastic container and freeze. You will need to keep turning the mixture with a plastic spoon every 20 minutes at least five times. Then cover and leave in the freezer to set.

Before using allow the sorbet to sit outside the freezer for about 5 minutes to soften, scoop and serve.

To construct and serve

Optional: peel and season some cherry tomatoes and season with salt and sugar and dry slowly in a warm oven 110C for about one hour. This intensifies the flavour.

Garnish the burrata with some of these slightly dried tomatoes and place a small circle of parmesan crisp on top of each one. Serve caviar on top if using.

Scoop the sorbet and serve separately.

Serve some sour dough bread or some toasted sour dough bread in the centre of the table.

Enjoy the best vegetarian starter ever!



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